Elijah Returns

BaptismIllustration:  “Baptism of Jesus.”  Mural painting.  The Vladimir Cathedral in Chersonese. Sevastopol. Crimea, c. 2004.  Oil on canvas, diameter 400 sm.

“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand'” (Matthew 3:1-2).

Jesus will be born soon, but first we celebrate another promise-fulfilling birth: John the Baptist. The angel Gabriel announced he would be the Elijah that Malachi promised, the one God sent to prepare people’s hearts to receive Messiah (Matthew 3:1-17). John the Baptist did just that, preaching “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” John spoke of the One who would judge between the righteous and the wicked, and warned Abraham’s children not to rely upon their lineage for salvation, but upon God’s promise. No one would be found righteous except those who were redeemed by Messiah.

John’s message of repentance is not just for those who do not yet know the Messiah. It is also for us who already know Christ. By grace, God made us His children in Baptism. John the Baptist’s call to repentance reminds us that daily we renew God’s promise by confessing our sinfulness, remembering God’s promise to forgive, and being prepared again to do His work on earth.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for blessing me in my Baptism, forgiving my sins, and preparing me for Your good works. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

As We Wait: Mark your Baptism day on the calendar and make plans to especially celebrate God’s faithfulness to you on that day. Do the same for your spouse, children, and godchildren.

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